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Proposed bills part of step-by-step battle against methamphetamine.

Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Floyd Prozanski For The Register-Guard

CORRECTION (ran 3/09/05): An editor's note appended to a Feb. 8 guest viewpoint by state Sen. Floyd Prozanski gave a wrong address for Cottage Grove High School. The school's address is 1375 River Road.

Methamphetamine use destroys families and communities. Last year, I was a member of the Governor's Task Force on Meth, and I saw firsthand how this vicious drug is ravaging communities and families throughout Oregon.

Constituents have told me personal stories of how meth has affected them. It hurts them through loved ones who have fallen to the drug, and it harms them through the financial strain it has put on their families and businesses.

Meth ravages all of us because addicts who live for the drug will do anything to get it. They become violent. They steal property and identities to feed their habit.

The solution to this crisis is constant vigilance from a strong community. The tools we use must address all the aspects of this problem, including effective law enforcement response, treatment solutions, removal of precursor chemicals and protections from identity theft.

The Senate Commerce Committee will come to Cottage Grove High School on Thursday to hear directly from the community on this issue. The committee, which I chair, is considering bills that will help our community deal with the meth crisis. No one solution will solve the problem. But if we all do our part, the result will be a safer community for everyone.

Our committee will be discussing Senate Bill 313 and SB 912, which regulate the precursor chemicals used to make meth. Although these bills may result in a small inconvenience for those buying some cold medicines, the protection offered in these bills will help our community stop the flow of the basic building blocks of meth.

Oklahoma saw a significant reduction in meth labs after passing a similar law in 2004. Cutting off access to the raw materials will result in less meth on our streets.

We will also discuss important protections from identity theft. Small changes in how businesses handle our personal information can offer an added amount of protection for victims of identity theft. The Senate Commerce Committee is considering the following bills:

SB 626 will ensure notification to you if your personal information was accessed by someone who was not authorized to access it.

SB 627 allows you to control when your consumer report will be used.

SB 628 allows you to obtain a copy of your credit report for a reduced fee so you can watch out for identity theft.

SB 629 protects your Social Security number.

SB 630 requires businesses to carefully dispose of your identification records.

In February, ChoicePoint, a national data collection agency, disclosed that it wrongly released personal information of more than 400,000 individuals to thieves acting as legitimate businesses. Clearly, consumers need more protection.

Each bill is part of a larger strategy to help make our communities safer. While no piece of legislation can remove meth entirely from our community, we can all do our part to make it more difficult for addicts to make the drug and more difficult for them to steal from the rest of us.

State Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. The committee will hold a public meeting from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at Cottage Grove High School, 1000 Taylor St., Cottage Grove, to consider the issues of methamphetamine and identity theft.
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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:Mar 8, 2005
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